|Hero||Strategy||Counters||Equipment||Gear||Responses||Sounds||Lore||Old Abilities||Changelogs||Known Bugs|
Ethreain, the Lich, is a ranged intelligence hero that uses his abilities to slow his enemies down with his ice-based attacks, as well as giving a boost to ally defenses, and serves as a great teamfight ganker with his powerful ultimate. He can use Sacrifice to easily level up and keep his mana high, making him very good at harassing in the early stages of the game. While a relatively frail hero and mostly known as a support, he can prove to be a force to be reckoned and mighty foe to stand with as he can render the attempts of multiple enemies futile with his ultimate, Chain Frost. Lich is a powerful crowd controller and can easily turn a teamfight, or dominate in a lane.
|Ethreain, the Lich|
|Play "And so the dead will bury the dead."|
|Role:||Support / Nuker|
|Lore:||In life, the frost-mage Ethreain (not yet a Lich) had used the threat of destructive ice to enslave entire kingdoms. His subjects, aided by a few desperate magicians, eventually grew bold enough to ambush him. Armed with enough charmed rope to bind him forever, they tied the frost mage to adamant weights and dropped him in a pool known chiefly for being bottomless. It wasn't. He only fell for a year or so before an outcrop snagged him. There he rested, dead but undecaying, until the geomancer Anhil thought to verify the legend of the supposedly bottomless Black Pool. Anhil's plumbline snarled with the ropes that bound the drowned magician, and up he hauled an unexpected prize. Thinking that by rendering the dead undead, he could question the Lich about the properties of the pool, he removed the bindings and commenced a simple rite of resurrection. Even the descendants of Ethreain's enemies were long forgotten by time, so there were none to warn Anhil against imprudence. But he learned the error of his judgment almost immediately, as Lich threw off the shackles and consumed him.|
|Voice:||Gary Schwartz (Responses)|
- The targeting reticule must be centered over an enemy unit.
- The area damage is dealt before the primary damage.
- The primary target takes the primary damage and the area damage, resulting in 125/200/275/350 damage (before reductions).
Does not slow spell immune enemies. Slow persists if debuff was placed before spell immunity and when not dispelled.
- The slow is applied upon a successful hit on a unit with the buff on.
- Allied units can attack an ally with the buff on without getting slowed.
- Fully stacks with the Ice Armor from the Ogre Frostmage. This goes for the armor buff and the slow debuff.
- Can be set on autocast.
- When on autocast, Lich automatically casts this spell on an allied hero that is attacked within 1100 radius of Lich.
- This includes attacks from any source, including wards and allied attacks.
- Only heroes and illusions are autocast targets, including spell immune heroes. All other units are ignored by autocast.
- Can interrupt Lich's current order and makes him forget the next queued command. Following queued commands are not forgotten.
- Cannot occur while channeling a spell.
- Despite the visual effects, Lich instantly gains the mana from this spell.
- All allied heroes within the share experience from the unit killed by Sacrifice.
- Chain Frost travels at a speed of 850 and cannot be disjointed.
- The projectile bounces with a 0.2 seconds delay.
- Can bounce on the same unit multiple times, but only when another target was between the bounces.
- Cannot bounce on invisible, invulnerable or hidden units, but can bounce on units in the Fog of War.
- The mini-stun is applied immediately upon cast and lasts for 0.1 seconds.
- Can deal up to 1680/2220/2760 ( infinite) damage to a single unit (before reductions), since it can hit one unit up to 6 times.
- All jumps together can deal up to 3080/4070/5060 ( infinite) damage (before reductions).
- The projectile has 800 range flying vision. The vision is not provided during the 0.2 seconds jump delay.
- The projectile blocks neutral creep camps.
- Chain Frost bounces can jump on, but not damage or slow Roshan. Only the initial hit can damage and slow him.
- Chain Frost stops providing vision and stops playing a sound upon hitting non-hero units when bouncing more than 60 times.
- The ability is unlocked by choosing the left level 25 talent.
- The debuff from successive attacks does not stack, only the duration gets refreshed.
- Fully stacks with other slows, including all of Lich's abilities and Eye of Skadi.
- Changes the visual appearance of Lich's attack projectiles (same effect as Eye of Skadi).
- Uses default attack projectiles against enemies which cannot be affected.
- Desolator's red projectiles take priority.
|Attacks Apply 30% MS and AS Slow||25||+35 Ice Armor Structure Armor|
|+120 Gold/Min||20||+150 Damage|
|-4s Frost Blast Cooldown||15||+125 Cast Range|
|+25 Movement Speed||10||+175 Health|
- Upgrading health increases maximum health capacity and keeps the current health percentage.
- Gold granted from the talent is unreliable gold.
- The attack damage is added as bonus attack damage, and therefore does not benefit illusions.
- Healing Salve and Tangos are basic regen requirements for heroes laning in the side lanes. On top of giving Lich a method to sustain his HP pool so that he does not get harassed out of lane, they can also be used to heal your lane's carry as well.
- Clarity is optional but useful for Lich. Although he can replenish his mana via casting Sacrifice, his base intelligence is quite low and Sacrifice's mana conversion ratio and cooldown prevent it from being overly effective in the laning stage.
- Gauntlets of Strength can give Lich some more survivability in-lane, and builds into an Urn of Shadows.
- Animal Courier should always be purchased by Lich by default, as he does not require items in order to be effective.
- Iron Branches are cheap and can give Lich good stats at the cost of inventory space, so they are a more cost-effective purchase as starting items than Gauntlets of Strength. They can be used to build Mekansm components or upgrade your Magic Stick.
- Magic Stick is useful on all heroes, and in particular on supports, so buying one on Lich is highly recommended during laning. It can be upgraded into a Magic Wand for additional stats and more burst regen.
- Boots of Speed are very powerful on Lich, as his innately high base movement speed already gives him some measure of mobility to allow him to harass and escape in the laning stage. Augmenting that with Boots will allow him to do even more, harassing more effectively with Frost Blast and even chasing enemies down.
- Urn of Shadows is a useful utility item to build on Lich. On top of providing extra strength for more HP, the additional mana regen allows Lich to take advantage of his high intelligence growth, and the active can be used to heal teammates or apply some more damage to the enemy in ganks.
- If a teammate is already building an Urn of Shadows, purchasing a Bracer instead will give Lich just as much HP, as well as bonuses in other stats. It can also be upgraded into a Drum of Endurance for even more stats and additional movement speed, as well as a mobility active to use in teamfights or while chasing/escaping.
- Upgrading the Animal Courier to a Flying Courier is the duty of a support, even at to cost of obtaining Boots of Speed.
- As a support, Lich should regularly purchase Observer Ward and Sentry Ward for giving his team map vision and removing that of the enemy.
- Tranquil Boots are the best boots for Lich given his ability to sustain his mana pool with Sacrifice. The enhanced mobility allows Lich to do more in teamfights, as he is not expected to right-click enemies but rather get close enough to make use of his spells. The passive HP regen replenishes Lich's health pool while Sacrifice replenishes his mana pool, allowing him to remain on the map indefinitely without the need to return to base.
- Mekansm is mandatory on any team, and Lich can carry one quite effectively. The item gives him stats across the board as well as armor, giving him more survivability, and the instant 250 HP heal is crucial in teamfights. The mana cost of the active is incidental to Lich since he can always stay at full mana by using Sacrifice.
- Point Booster is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase Lich's survivability, as it gives him a large amount of HP and mana for an affordable price. It can build into an Aghanim's Scepter later in a match as needed.
- Town Portal Scroll is mandatory on all heroes, and especially on supports like Lich. Being able to show up to a fight to cast his spells and use his items is critical, and showing up to counter-gank and breaking up the enemy's chase with Chain Frost can change the tide of a game under the right circumstances.
- Aghanim's Scepter greatly augments Lich's ability to deal damage in fights, as the increased damage and removal of the bounce limit removes the option for the enemy to simply wait out the spell or lead the ball into creep waves.
- Blink Dagger is powerful on Lich as he can instantly get within range to cast Frost Blast on an enemy, or jump in to cast Chain Frost on an unsuspecting group of enemy heroes. It also improves his map mobility as he can easily jump over impassable terrain to reach his destination faster.
- Force Staff is a very useful utility item on all supports, and is relatively easy to build as well. The ability to quickly displace allies and enemies is very powerful as Lich's spells all depend greatly on positioning, while the item's bonuses give Lich a bigger mana pool and some more HP regen.
- Eul's Scepter of Divinity is a comparatively cheap utility item that is very powerful on Lich. It enhances his movement speed while giving him a bigger mana pool and great amounts of mana regen, making him much more mobile and allowing him to spam his spells much more frequently. Most importantly though, the active ability allows him to instantly hard-disable an enemy at range, something he otherwise lacks.
- Scythe of Vyse is a very powerful item on any support hero, although it is also very expensive. The massive intelligence bonus and mana regen allows Lich to cast his spells with almost no limit, and the additional strength also gives him survivability. However, its most important feature is the ability to instantly hard-disable an enemy and prevent them from using items, a powerful ability in late-game teamfights.
- Shiva's Guard gives Lich a bigger mana pool and armor that stacks with Ice Armor, allowing him to weather physical attacks better. The active and passive auras also synergize well with Lich's other abilities, greatly debilitating the enemy's movement and attack speed.
- Veil of Discord is a good utility support item that can greatly benefit Lich. The extra stats and armor give Lich more survivability, while the large intelligence bonus gives him a larger mana pool to work with. The active can greatly enhance the effectiveness of all of Lich's nukes, particularly Chain Frost.
- Rod of Atos gives Lich many good benefits. The extra HP greatly increases Lich's survivability and the intelligence gives him a larger mana pool. More importantly, however, the item's active ability can be used to slow an enemy from a very long range and can be followed by Frost Blast.
- Helm of the Dominator is an unorthodox but useful utility item to purchase on Lich. Converting a jungle creep will allow you to contribute more in teamfights, whether with auras or disables, and you can cast Sacrifice on it to gain an experience bonus and replenish your mana by a large amount, as the dominated creep will have a larger health pool due to being converted.
- Solar Crest is a good utility support item as Lich is a ranged hero that does not get into the thick of battles. Using the active ability on an enemy during a gank will allow teammates to capitalize on any slows you place on them, and using it on an ally synergizes with Ice Armor, giving them immense physical survivability as it grants evasion as well as armor. Lastly, it can be used to reduce Roshan's armor and induce a miss chance on his attacks, making Aegis attempts more efficient.
- Ghost Scepter is very useful on Lich as it gives him stats across the board and a method with which he can evade physical damage, giving him time to cast more spells if he is jumped on by the enemy's carry.
- Aether Lens can boost Lich's nuking power tremendously and is very easy to build. It increases the size of Lich's mana pool, boosting the utility of Sacrifice and facilitating his ability to cast his full spell combo in fights (particularly Chain Frost due to its extremely high mana cost), while also providing increased HP regen to keep him out in the field more often. It also boosts the cast range on all of Lich's spells, allowing him to nuke enemies from a safer distance, and increases the amount of damage that his nukes deal.
- Necronomicon is a good teamfight utility item to build. The item's stats give Lich more strength and intelligence, and the summoned warriors allow him to contribute more in teamfights.
- Pipe of Insight is a powerful utility item to build for your team, as it can protect them from magic nukes, synergizing with your ability to protect them from physical damage by casting Ice Armor on them. The passive HP regen also allows Lich to maintain his HP pool without returning to base to heal, while Sacrifice maintains his mana pool.
- Refresher Orb will increase Lich's damage output with Chain Frost by a very large margin, especially if it is a follow-up to large disabling teamfight abilities. It is highly recommended to build up your mana pool first though, as Chain Frost itself costs 500 mana at level 3, meaning that the combo will cost upwards of 1375 mana, excluding other spells.
- Lich is a support hero who possesses tremendous nuking power, as well as disable power via his many slows. His low reliance on items makes him a very strong hard support who can cause considerable harm to the enemy in the laning stage.
- Like most intelligence support casters, Lich suffers from extremely poor strength and agility, making him easy to kill by enemy attacks and abilities should he ever get caught out of position. Playing Lich well requires judicious positioning depending on the situation, and casting his spells on the right targets without being focused down by the enemy.
- Unlike other caster heroes, Lich does not require a source of mana replenishment, as he can easily and quickly refill his mana pool by casting Sacrifice. This allows Lich to focus on building mobility and utility items, without the need to waste inventory slots on mana regeneration items.
- Lich's skill set allows him to be played effectively in any lane. However, this does not necessarily change his role, only the amount of farm he gets.
- As a safe lane support, Lich has the ability to constantly cast Sacrifice on allied creeps to keep the creep wave close to his tower, denying the enemy off-laner gold and experience and making it easier and safer for his carry to farm. As well, Frost Blast can be used to punish the enemy off-laner if they try to approach for last hits, and his innate movement speed allows him to chase and harass easily.
- As a mid, Lich can constantly harass the enemy mid with Frost Blast, and use Sacrifice to maintain a permanent XP and gold advantage as well as keep the creep wave close to his tower.
- As an off-laner, Lich can cast Sacrifice to pull the creep wave close to his tower, making last-hitting more dangerous for the enemy carry and giving him guaranteed experience and gold. As well, Frost Blast can be used to harass down the enemy and even get kills under the right circumstances, and Ice Armor can give him and his tower a measure of protection against harass and push, respectively.
- Frost Blast damages and slows the target enemy, as well as applying additional minor damage and the slow in a radius around the target.
- Frost Blast is a powerful harassing and nuking spell, as its low cooldown and respectable damage allow it to be used continuously in-lane when combined with Sacrifice. Try to use it to bully the enemy off-laner away, as casting the spell to harass will not draw creep aggro so long as the enemy creeps are already attacking another target.
- Beware, Lich's low base intelligence means that he is unable to cast Frost Blast repeatedly without a source of mana replenishment. As such, it is advisable to get at least two levels of Sacrifice so that you do not run out of mana early on.
- In general, Frost Blast is a good skill to max out first on Lich, as increasing its nuking power makes him a much bigger threat in the laning stage. However, it is wise to get a few points in Sacrifice first, in order to fuel Frost Blast's high mana cost.
- Frost Blast has a longer-than-average cast range, allowing Lich to lead early-game ganks with it. It is very powerful when ganking the enemy off-laner as the slow lasts for 4 seconds, allowing teammates with high damage output to capitalize on the slow while Frost Blast's low cooldown allows you to finish off the target soon after if needed.
- Although Frost Blast is a unit target spell, it also has a small radius of effect in which nearby enemies will take minor damage as well as the slow. This makes Frost Blast an imperfect area-of-effect nuke that can help in nuking down creep waves if needed.
- Ice Armor applies a buff to the target ally or building, increasing its armor. Enemies who attack a unit with the buff will be inflicted with a slow.
- Ice Armor is a powerful defensive spell that is cheap and spammable. Applying the buff to multiple teammates before a fight can give them more survivability against physical attacks.
- Ice Armor can be a useful spell to grab during laning, as it can increase resistance against enemy harass and may even save an ally's life during a gank. Never discount the movement and attack speed slow, as on top of the additional armor it can make pursuing an ally very difficult.
- Remember that Ice Armor can be cast on all allied units, not just heroes. Therefore, it can be useful to apply Ice Armor to the leading melee creep in your lane if you are expecting to push, as it will reduce the damage output of the enemy's creeps as well as give resistance against tower damage, giving your creep wave more survivability.
- If the enemy is employing an early pushing strategy, it may be wise to get a few early levels in Ice Armor, as applying the buff to your tower will greatly reduce the amount of damage it takes even from determined pushes.
- Sacrifice consumes the target allied creep, giving all allies within range its experience bounty and replenishing Lich's mana pool based on the creep's current health.
- Sacrifice is a very powerful laning spell, as it gives Lich the ability to cast his spells without limit, as well as generate experience for his lane. Getting at least two levels in the laning stage can give his lane a strong advantage.
- Sacrifice should generally be taken as Lich's first spell, as even though he won't need the mana earned from it until you reach level 2, it can sacrifice creeps to prevent the enemy from earning gold and experience as sacrificing ranged creep will deny 40% of wave's experience and to control creep equilibrium. In particular, as a side lane support, denying one of the ranged creeps in the mid lane just as the creeps spawn will give the allied mid player an early advantage and easier lane control.
- Remember that Sacrifice will share the experience of the targeted creep with all allied heroes within 1300 range. Done repeatedly over time, this can give your lane a level advantage, allowing your carry to get their ultimate ability faster and getting early kills with it.
- In the same vein as above, Sacrifice can be combined with safe lane camp pulling to further reduce the experience given to the enemy's off-laner. Remember that while a small neutral camp is usually weaker than a wave of lane creeps, consuming one of your lane creeps during a pull will weaken the amount of damage they do to the neutral camp while simultaneously reducing the total amount of damage the neutral camp must do to the lane creeps in order to destroy the wave. Under optimal circumstances, it is possible to completely deny one wave of lane creeps with a single pull, without the needing to stack it first or chain-pull afterward.
- Sacrifice's main utility is in destroying the enemy's early economy and generating an experience advantage for your team, no matter what lane Lich is placed in. Used properly, the spell can guaranteed deny 25% of all gold gain to the enemy per creep wave and effectively steal experience. As well, pulling the creep wave closer to your tower forces the enemy to enter your territory if they want to continue farming and getting experience, making them easier to gank, particularly as Lich can easily harass with Frost Blast as well.
- Creeps spawn every 30 seconds, and Sacrifice's cooldown drops to 30 seconds once it is level 4. If your goal is to maintain control of the creep wave and gaining a level advantage over harassing the enemy, taking four early levels of Sacrifice will allow you to consume one creep per wave.
- Even in the late game, Sacrifice is very powerful in that it scales with the HP of its target. It is especially powerful when cast on mega-creeps since it will take a percentage of a larger number. However, keep in mind that every creep that you consume also weakens the pushing strength of that lane, so if the objective is to push a lane in order to exert pressure on the enemy's tower, it's recommended to either not cast Sacrifice in that lane, or even out the disparity by using your attacks or spells to push that lane.
- Chain Frost unleashes a bouncing projectile that nukes and slows its targets, jumping between enemies until there are no valid targets or it reaches its bounce limit.
- Chain Frost can be one of the most devastating ultimates in the game, and can easily turn a teamfight in your favor when used properly. Use it to deal damage quickly to clustered enemy heroes.
- Be careful about where you cast Chain Frost. If there are multiple enemy creeps around the spell may waste much of its power on them, yet at the same time it is almost useless when cast on a single enemy as it will not bounce. Use your judgment in deciding when Chain Frost is most profitably cast.
- Chain Frost can be used to instantly turn around enemy ganks under the right circumstances. As players often clump together when chasing a target, casting Chain Frost on them can deal large amounts of damage to them, either netting you multiple kills or forcing the enemy to spread out and retreat, breaking up the gank attempt.
- When using Chain Frost in a teamfight, it is recommended to catch as many enemies as possible with Frost Blast prior to using Chain Frost. As the slows stack, reducing the enemy's movement speed by 60% can greatly debilitate their efforts to spread out to avoid the damage. Additionally, you can use Frost Blast to attempt to kill any nearby enemy creeps, so that they will not be available as targets for Chain Frost's bounce and thus waste some of its power.
- One of the biggest disadvantages of Chain Frost is its slow movement speed. This gives time for enemies to split apart, preventing it from bouncing. You can, however, work with heroes that have large area-of-effect disables like Berserker's Call, Chronosphere, Black Hole, Reverse Polarity, and so on, which lock heroes in place long enough for Chain Frost to run its course and deal full damage. As well, keep in mind that the slow travel speed of the orb can be negated if the enemy is standing in very close proximity, reducing its travel time between targets.
- If Lich catches the enemy team killing Roshan, using Chain Frost will force them to desist and/or deal huge damage to all of them, as Roshan's pit is very difficult to disperse inside, especially when slowed.
- Remember that Chain Frost will mini-stun its target immediately upon casting, through spell immunity. If an enemy has activated spell immunity and is trying to use a Town Portal Scroll to escape, you can stop them with Chain Frost. This can be crucial for getting a key pick-off for taking a map objective or discouraging the enemy from fighting until their teammate respawns.
- Lich's voice actor, Gary Schwartz, also voiced the Heavy and Demoman classes in Team Fortress 2, another title by Valve.
- In the first iteration of Invoker's abilities, when the order of his three orbs determined the spell that was invoked, Frost Nova was one of his abilities and functioned almost identically to the current spell, and was mapped to Quas Quas Exort. Crystal Maiden also had the same Frost Nova ability with small differences in numbers.
- Lich is almost entirely based on a Warcraft 3 hero. His title (Lich), DotA name (Kel'Thuzad) and all his spells except the ultimate are same as the original Warcraft 3 hero, although entirely rebalanced around Dota.
- In his transition to Dota2, he kept his title (Lich), but his name got changed due to copyright reasons, since Kel'Thuzad is a notable character from the Warcraft universe.
- Lich's response Play "Dead man drifting." is a reference to the line Play "Dead man walking." spoken by the Warcraft 3 hero.
- Anatomically, Lich's cranium has no visible sutures, another proof of his age.
- Lich's response :Play "Frost bitten, twice shy" is a referense to Great White albums: Once Bitten... and ...Twice Shy
- Lich's response Play "And so the dead will bury the dead" is a reference from Bible (Luke 9:59-60), where Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead,” in response to a disciple who wanted to bury his father before committing himself to the Lord.
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